2020 has been an annus horribilis for America. Next month, America gets a real president.

A PPI year in review. Next month, America gets a real president in Joe Biden, who will restore honesty and decency in the White House, along with a commitment to bring our country together rather than tear it apart.

by Will Marshall, PPI President

There’s no getting around it: 2020 has been an annus horribilis for America. We’ve had to endure a deadly pandemic, a frozen economy, a corrupt president’s bid to void an election he lost, and deep racial and civil discord.

And yet our national fortunes seem to be changing. Coronavirus vaccines — developed in record time by U.S. drug companies — will soon be widely available. Next month, America gets a real president in Joe Biden, who will restore honesty and decency in the White House, along with a commitment to bring our country together rather than tear it apart.

I’m also happy to report that the Progressive Policy Institute is ending the year on a high note. We have roughly doubled in size, adding new policy analysts and projects that also have brought youth and diversity to our team. We are poised to play a more forceful role in advocating for the kind of radically pragmatic solutions Americans voted for in 2020 and to help the new administration deliver them.

Let me touch on just a few of 2020’s highlights.

Throughout the primaries, PPI worked to illuminate the critical choices before U.S. voters. This included analysis and comparisons of the Democratic presidential candidates’ positions, as well as intensive surveys of public opinion in the key battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Our team also critiqued utopian demands from the sectarian left that repel swing voters in competitive districts and states.

In March, as the coronavirus hit America, we turned swiftly to confront the crisis, which both revealed and exacerbated the nation’s deep racial and social inequities. For example, PPI began work on its ongoing Covid-19 chronology, which offers a definitive, step-by-step record of President Trump’s disastrous handling of the pandemic.

Working remotely, PPI policy analysts have generated a prodigious output of policy reports, articles, op eds and blogs, podcasts and webinars, featuring creative ideas for containing the pandemic and mitigating the economic pain it’s caused. In late August, we published Building American Resilience, a compendium of bold ideas for spurring economic recovery and for making the private sector and government more resilient against future national emergencies. Our Reinventing America’s Schools team also produced a major report on the urgent challenge of keeping our children learning, remotely if necessary, during the pandemic.

Also notable are three new projects PPI launched in 2020:

  • Center for New Liberalism. The center is an outgrowth of the Neoliberal Project, a virtual network of tens of thousands of young political activists and thinkers. With more than 60 chapters (including 12 overseas), the network provides a political home for young Americans who favor liberal rather than socialist solutions to the nation’s problems.
  • Innovation Frontier Project. Building on PPI’s traditional strengths in innovation and entrepreneurship, this project aims at keeping America in the vanguard of scientific and technological progress. It’s run by two rising young economists, Alec Stapp and Caleb Watney, as well as PPI chief economic strategist Michael Mandel. The project plans to commission at least 20 research reports on public policies to encourage progress in such emerging fields as biotech, 5G and 6G networks, artificial intelligence, digitally enabled manufacturing and a 21st Century competition policy.
  • The Mosaic Project. The mission of the Mosaic Project is to raise the profile of women, including women of color, in national debates over economic and technology policy. It recruits classes of highly accomplished women to interaction with seasoned professionals in legislation, communications and dealing with new and old media.

Meanwhile, we are beefing up our communications and outreach capacities to work more closely with our elected friends and allies on Capitol Hill, in local and state government, and in the incoming Biden administration. Over 30-plus years, in fact, PPI has never been in a stronger position to craft innovation ideas and solutions for pragmatic progressives determined to make American democracy work again.

As we celebrate our good fortune after a difficult year of loss and sacrifice, we’re mindful of the crucial part that great friends and supporters like you have played in our success. We thank you and wish you and your families a very happy holiday!

Radically Pragmatic. We seek to advance progressive, market-friendly ideas that promote American innovation, economic growth, and wider opportunity.